2020 Girls Cross Country Section Recap
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 7:54 AM
In the fall of 2020, the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Cross Country season was abbreviated because of safety protocols implemented to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The season culminated at the section level where 16 team champions were crowned and dozens of participants received medals for their performances. Here is a look at what happened in each of those section meets:
Section 1 --- Cotter High School, located in Winona, topped the 17-team field with 68 points. That was 34 points fewer than Plainview-Elgin-Millville, which was runner-up with 102. Chatfield placed third with 121. Natasha Sortland, a sophomore running for Zumbrota-Mazeppa/Kenyon-Wanamingo, was the individual champion, covering the 5,000-meter course at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester in a time of 19 minutes, 9.4 seconds. Stewartville sophomore Haylie Strum was runner-up in 19:44.5, while Lake City teammates Jacey Majerus and Peyton Meincke were third and fourth, respectively. Majerus, a sophomore, finished in 20:00.4, and Meincke, an eighth-grader, finished nine seconds later. Eighth-grader Sonja Semling was Cotter’s top runner with a fifth-place finish.
Section 2 --- Belle Plaine captured the team title with 56 points at Montgomery Golf Club. Glencoe-Silver Lake was runner-up with 70 and Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop was third with 105. Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s junior Clare Fischer was the individual champion in a time of 19:56.8. During the 2019 state meet, she placed 40th overall. Glencoe-Silver Lake junior Malayh Metcalf was the individual runner-up in a time of 20:21.19. Senior Grace Feder of Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop was third in 20:28.64. Senior Savanna DeYoung was Belle Plaine’s top individual runner in the team chase, finishing fourth overall in 20:42.37.
Section 3 --- Murray County Central notched the top three spots in the individual competition held in Worthington. Sophomore Ashley Overgaauw won the gold medal in a time of 18:20.57, just ahead of twin sister, Amanda, who was second in 18:20.75. Teammate Morgan Gehl, a senior, was third in 18:44.40. Gehl was the Class A champion in 2019. Luverne won the team title with 40 points, just nine fewer than runner-up Murray County Central. Luverne’s five scoring runners finished in the top 12. Junior Tenley Nelson led the way for Luverne in a time of 19:42.94 in placing fifth.
Section 4 --- Minnehaha Academy captured the team championship with 55 points during the event at the Highland 9 Golf Course in St. Paul. Nova Classical Academy was runner-up with 65 and St. Paul Academy and Summit School was third at 73. Sophomore Greta Hansen of Math & Science Academy was the overall winner in a time of 20:09.2. She finished 29th overall during the 2019 state meet race. Minnehaha Academy sophomore Molly DiNardo was runner-up in 20:37.1 and eighth-grader Taylor Barkwell of St. Paul Academy and Summit School was third in 21:10.
Section 5 --- After finishing in a tie atop the team standings, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted edged St. Cloud Cathedral by criteria of its No. 6 runner finishing ahead of St. Cloud Cathedral’s sixth runner. Typically, the top five runners score toward the team finish. Both teams finished with 81 points at Spring Brook Golf Course in Mora. Spectrum was third with 109. Eighth-grader Addison Hoof of Mayer Lutheran/LPWHT was the individual winner in a time of 19:41.7, less than two seconds ahead of freshman Maddie LeSage of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. Hoof placed fifth overall at the 2019 state meet. Hinckley-Finlayson freshman Reese Hartl was third in this section meet at 19:57.6.
Section 6 --- Staples-Motley placed three runners in the top seven en route to capturing team honors with 37 points at Little Crow Golf Course in Spicer. West Central was runner-up with 83 followed by Albany in third with 102. Freshman Kyanna Burton led Staples-Motley with a third-place finish overall in 19:15.71. Teammate Aften Robinson, a sophomore, was fourth in 19:28.01. Seventh-grader Audrey Brownell was Staples-Motley’s third runner, finishing seventh in a time of 20:22.13. West Central junior Lexi Bright was the individual champion in 19:10.25 and freshman Caroline Kuehne of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle was runner-up in 19:14.43.
Section 7 --- Pequot Lakes captured two championships at Cloquet Golf Course. Freshman Calia Chaney cruised to the individual championship in a time of 18:48.6 to power the Patriots to the team title. Pequot Lakes finished with 101 points, just four fewer than runner-up Proctor. Virginia was third with 116. Chaney placed eighth overall during the 2019 state meet. In this race, Duluth Marshall junior Keegan McAuliffe was runner-up in 19:41.2 and Mesabi East senior Lydia Skelton was third in 19:53.2.
Section 8 --- Perham, winners of four of the past five Class A championships, captured the section crown with 56 points at Twin Pines Golf Course in Bagley. That was 13 fewer than runner-up Hawley and Lake Park-Audubon was third with 101. Nevis sophomore Jade Rypkema was the individual champion in a time of 19:15.7. She was second overall in the Class A race in 2019. United North Central eighth-grader Anjalie Aho was runner-up in 19:22.6, and East Grand Forks sophomore Lydia Floden was third in 20:06.
Section 1 --- Farmington was a double champion as well during the meet at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. The Tigers zipped to the team title with 30 points, 18 fewer than Lakeville South, which was runner-up with 48. Rochester Century was third at 111. In the individual race, Farmington senior Anna Fenske captured the title in a time of 17:35.04. She was nearly a minute ahead of her younger sister, Mariah, who was runner-up in 18:27.07. Anna Fenske was third overall during the 2019 Class AA state meet and Mariah was 15th overall. Lakeville South eighth-grader Claire Vukovics was third in 18:32.85.
Section 2 --- Waconia topped the two section representatives to the state meet in 2019 with a team title at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista. The Wildcats won the section crown with 48 points, 26 better than Chanhassen, which was runner-up with 74. Marshall was third with 85. Chanhassen and Marshall were the section representatives at the state meet in 2019. Chanhassen junior Isabella Roemer won the individual championship in a time of 18:39. Waconia junior Adorisa Kaeding was runner-up in 19:05, and Hutchinson freshman Isabelle Schmitz was a half-second behind in third.
Section 3 --- East Ridge senior Lillian Warmuth topped the field at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley in a time of 18:31.6. Burnsville’s Zoie Dundon, a junior, was runner-up in 18:58.6, and Prior Lake seventh-grader Sara Gastony was third in 19:02.9. Teammate Isabelle Reinders, also a seventh-grader, was fourth in 19:18.9. Prior Lake captured the team title with 58 points, 20 fewer than Rosemount. Eastview was third with 87.
Section 4 --- St. Paul Highland Park won a section title for the first time since 1975 with a team score of 29 points. That was 29 better than White Bear Lake, which was runner-up with 58, and Stillwater was third with 69. Stillwater senior Analee Weaver capped an impressive season by winning the individual championship in 17:39 at the Highland 9 Golf Course in St. Paul. She was 1 minute, 4 seconds ahead of St. Paul Highland Park junior Molly Moening, who was runner-up in 18:43. St. Paul Central’s Iris Guider was third in 18:45. Weaver was the Class AA champion in 2019, and this season, she set an all-time Minnesota record of 16:42.6. It was the fourth-fastest time in the country this fall. Weaver broke the old mark of 16:55 set in 2018 by Minneapolis Washburn’s Emily Covert.
Section 5 --- St. Michael-Albertville, which finished third as a team in the 2019 Class AA state meet, won the section crown with 54 points. Mounds View was runner-up with 65 and Osseo was third at 98 in the meet held at Anoka High School. St. Michael-Albertville junior Ali Weimer led the way with a championship finish in the individual race. Her time of 17:53 was 55 seconds faster than eighth-grader Abby Hibbs of Champlin Park, who was runner-up in 18:53. Osseo junior Lex Davis was third in 18:58. Weimer placed fourth overall in the Class AA meet in 2019.
Section 6 --- Edina, the Class AA champion in 2019, won the section title by edging out Minnetonka. The Hornets and Skippers, rivals in the Lake Conference finished tied at 48 points each. The tie was broken when Edina’s No. 6 runner, freshman Ella Hinkie, finished three spots ahead of Minnetonka’s sixth runner. Wayzata sophomore Abbey Nechanicky was the individual champion at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista with a time of 17:31.45. Minnetonka sophomore Maya Mor was runner-up in 18:04.95 and Hopkins eighth-grader Sydney Drevlow was third in 18:05.94. Nechanicky was the Class AA runner-up to Weaver in 2019.
Section 7 --- Andover used three finishes in the top six places to capture the team title at Cloquet Golf Course. Senior Claire Beckman led the way with a runner-up finish in 18:57.1 and teammate Alyssa Gerth, also a senior, was third in 19:14.3enior Brekkyn Lammert was sixth in 19:22. Forest Lake eighth-grader Norah Hushagen won the individual title in a time of 18:07.5. Duluth East was runner-up in the team chase with 65 points, two points ahead of third-place Forest Lake.
Section 8 --- Alexandria finished on top of the 14-team field with 30 points to capture another section championship, this time at Greenwood Golf Course in Bemidji. Willmar was runner-up with 65 points and Rocori was third with 95. Willmar eighth-grader Erin Eilers won the individual title in a time of 18:50.6. She was 45th overall at the Class AA meet in 2019. Alexandria junior Aleah Miller was runner-up in 18:54.2, and Willmar eighth-grader Lauren Eilers was third in 19:18.1.